Earth, Wind & Water

Ramblings of an Earthling, Laserite and small boat sailor

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Have you named your boat?

And now you know from this less-than-meticulously composed photo where the name of this blog comes from.  As for where the name of the boat comes from, that's a slightly more interesting story.  As my brother and a Chinese colleague found out a few years ago, this is what you get using an online tool when you translate our last name into Chinese and back into English.  I think it's also a pretty good description of what it's like to be planing in a Laser.  I'd had the boat for about a year before I realized it would make a good name for it, but at least I got around to it and named the boat, with decal and all.  That decal I had made by Compliance Signs, of Chicago Illinois, which, as you might guess, specializes in safety signs. Even though it was a custom job, they charged me only around six bucks for this decal.

I was a little surprised when I went to two regattas last summer with around 30 Lasers entered in each, that on both occasions, I was one of only two sailors who'd name their boats.  Why is this?  Is it because Laser sailors are all business with no time for such frivolous exploits as naming boats?  Is it maybe because the boats are all so alike (if you drink the Kool-Ade) that the boat is irrelevant, but a conduit to express the sailor's individual brilliance as a skipper?  Maybe just apathy?

By choosing a name that sounds like tumultuous water, I may have violated this oft-quoted advice for naming boats by tempting fate.  (Any one know who first wrote those wise words, by the way?)  However, despite all the spectacular videos you'll find if you search for "exploding water", everyone knows, water cannot explode, at least not literally.

Naming boats is not easy, but it is fun, especially if you think up names with friends.  And so I return to my original question: Have you named your boat?


  1. I've always named my boats, Lasers included. But not always have I painted names on them. Does that count?

    Especially with decals. That's awesome!

  2. Thanks! Coming up with the name is the hard part. Putting the name on the boat is just logistics. Certainly finding Compliance Signs made it much easier.

    One thing that held me up was the challenge of figuring out the intervening Chinese characters. All the Chinese people I spoke to said, "Wow, what an interesting challenge. That'll be really hard!" I'm pretty sure the first character would be "Bau", which can mean anything from exploding to fire to red. The character for water was trickier, and even if I'd found a good fit, having a sticker made up would have been hard. Eventually I decided to just put the name on the boat in English.